This week marks 3 months since the tragedy that took our Abby home to Jesus.
So much has happened since.
We are moving on in our "new life" as best as we can. I finally feel some days when I leave the house that we are becoming more "normal" and I don't feel as much like I am half dressed or that I am leaving something very important at home when I drive out the lane. The children all continue in their different ways of grieving as do Lowell and I.
An up and coming photographer offered us a session to "document" in sorts our new family structure of 5. I am piecing together outfits and trying to figure out how to make it the most meaningful.
Life goes on...
We continue going through waves or phases where we question then come around again to quiet calm and peace in our souls. God continues to show himself faithful.
Of all things exciting since our pain began, the biggest WOW has been the salvation of my darling husband, Lowell. He grew up in a Christian home and had 43 years of knowledge of God and his word tucked into his head. Somehow it never quite made it to his heart. Since we have been together I have had several major times of questioning if he was truly in a relationship with Jesus. I would lay awake at night and worry that I may not see him in Heaven. I would pray, often praying that God would bring him to the end of himself so he might fully recognize his need for Savior Jesus and his love and peace. I had no idea when I prayed that prayer that it may require something of me such as the loss of my baby daughter. Even when Abby died, I had no idea how her death fit into the bigger picture, a picture that like a puzzle is slowly becoming more complete and more clear as God continues to reveal pieces for us to see.
I think it really hit him after I shared with him what Kali had told her therapist. It was in "bucket" week where Kali was shown how each of our lives are like buckets. Some of us have very little joy (represented by water) in our lives (buckets). Some are 1/2 full, some are laying on their sides with a few drops of water left, some are 3/4 full, some are bubbling over, some are empty-completely void of joy. The therapist showed Kali a page full of buckets in varying positions and asked her to point out each of her family. She tagged each one of us with buckets with some water in them in varying degrees. Lowell's bucket however was upside down and completely dry. She voiced her concern about her daddy not having any joy in his life and how that worried her. I knew it would not go over well so I waited for the perfect timing to share this discussion with Lowell and when it came a few days later, the effect was shocking to me. He was consumed with it and so very sad. Over the next few days I sensed he was struggling but did not know why. Then one morning he called and asked me if we had plans for the evening and said he was going to go meet with our pastor Perry and talk some things over. My thought was that it was probably grief related as Perry and his wife have experienced loss as well and have walked this journey so well with us. I will never forget when he got home that night. The door opened and before I saw him I heard his light hearted whistle and could hardly believe my ears. Joy radiated from him and I marveled as we ate supper. After wards he asked if he could talk to me. As we sat, he pulled out his Bible and showed me the verse in Nehemiah where it talks about the joy of the Lord being our strength. He pointed out how Abby had been his joy and how when she died, every last ounce of joy evaporated. (I am witness to that fact!) He began seeking and realized that he didn't have the joy of the Lord and wandered where it went. It was then that it became clear to him that you can't loose something you never had and as he became totally immersed in this new realization he came to an honest answer that he had never actually asked Jesus to forgive his sins and move into his heart. He knew about it. It was all around him, But he had never taken the step to move head knowledge to heart acceptance. When he went to visit Pastor Perry, they actually prayed THE prayer together and his life changed at that very second!
His life has indeed been transformed. He is so excited to share what God is doing and the joy he is experiencing even in the midst of pain. He is praying and leading our family in worship of the God who is carrying us. He radiates peace. He is joyful, a characteristic I would not have been able to peg on him before. The children notice the difference in their daddy and have asked lots of questions like "mama why is daddy smiling all the time?" Through this experience, some of our questions of the why in Abby's death are being answered. Lowell's peace and joy bubble out because he knows now that there is no question if he can see her again. He will!
And though we grieve at the tremendous loss, Abby's death has been instrumental in so many lost souls, including her own daddy, finding God. Does that lessen our pain? Not really. But it sure does provide splashes of joy and beauty along the path.
I don't know what all God will do with our family or where HE will take us with our journey. The one thing that I do know is that HE doesn't want us to be quiet about HIM and his love and the peace HE grants on a daily basis. His plan is simple. We must realize our need of HIM and his forgiveness for the sins we commit on a daily basis. Then we ask HIM to forgive us and ask him to live in our hearts and then allow his guiding presence to overtake every part of our lives. He extends his forgiveness and grace to all who seek HIM.
Some of our friends and family have gone through periods of doubt since Lowell's radical change. They wander if they really are saved and if God is really in them. I have watched Lowell's response to their questions and found his answer to make sense. "If you have doubts, go deal with them. You have to face them. Either make peace with God or confirm your relationship with HIM. Then you have the right to tell Satan where to get off."
God has not given us a spirit of fear or condemnation but in the same breath, he calls us to lives of purity and holiness. His love for us is beyond any human comprehension.
Here is a favorite song of Lowell's . I surprised him and had it played at his baptism.
Our "new life" continues with this strength. I know He sent each one of you along to walk this journey with us. For this I am so very thankful.